In 2020, Amazon launched Just Walk Out, a biometric self-checkout system that simplifies the shopping experience by allowing customers to pay quickly and seamlessly using handheld biometrics and mobile payments.However, a copy by Informationfinding that the technology has not been adopted as Amazon had hoped.
While the e-commerce giant has deployed the system in more than 20 Amazon Go stores, more than 40 fresh grocery stores, and two Whole Foods stores, only a handful of large retailers have deployed it. The report noted that the effort and system costs required for its integration have prevented stores from adopting it.
The Just Walk Out system requires a considerable amount of staff to oversee the human review and get the system running. For example, while the process is cashier-free from a consumer perspective, Amazon still requires back-office workers to review video footage of transactions to “facilitate pricing and payment.” In fact, Amazon originally planned to use about 20 to 50 employees per 1,000 sales by mid-2022. But soon realized that number was too low and ended up hiring as many as 700 people during this time.
What’s more, the emergence of startups offering similar cashier-less checkout services has created a challenge for Amazon to win more market customers for its Just Walk Out technology.
But despite these setbacks, the Amazon One palm biometric solution used in Just Walk Out is gaining popularity for in-person retail payments. Starbucks is trialing palm biometric payments with the Amazon One system at one of its coffee shops in Edmonds, Washington. It’s also being tested at various Panera locations as well as Whole Foods locations.
Adoption of biometric self-checkout systems may not be as quick or straightforward as previously expected. Companies deploying this technology will need to invest significant time and resources in addressing the challenges highlighted in the report. However, the potential benefits of such technology are clear, and we are likely to continue to see further developments in this area as retailers strive to provide customers with a more efficient and streamlined shopping experience.